Karen Rosalba Grajeda

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Top Row and Bottom Left: Karen, circa 1996;
Bottom Right: Age-progression to age 21 (circa 2009)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: January 11, 1996 from Tucson, Arizona
  • Classification: Non-Family Abduction
  • Date Of Birth: October 15, 1988
  • Age: 7 years old
  • Height and Weight: 3'5, 50 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Hispanic (Mexican) female. Black hair, brown eyes. Karen's upper right front tooth is larger than her other teeth, and she was missing several baby teeth at the time of her 1996 disappearance. Her ears are pierced and she has a pea-sized mole behind one ear. She speaks both Spanish and English.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A faded purple or turquoise t-shirt with white lettering on the front, multicolored pastel floral-printed shorts, Guess? shoes, a gold chain with a pendant reading "Little Angel," a ring with a red stone and another ring engraved with the letter K.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Karen was last seen playing outside of her family's residence at Saguaro Crest Apartments on in the 100 block of west Valencia Street in Tucson, Arizona on January 11, 1996. She was roller-skating with her younger sister and some friends that evening and was last seen when she returned to her apartment to drop off her skates before going outside again to play. Her mother reported Karen as missing when she called her daughter inside for dinner at approximately 6:30 p.m. that evening and noticed Karen had disappeared. Neither her sister nor any of their playmates had seen her vanish or heard a scream or a struggle. She has never been seen again.

    It is possible that Karen was abducted by an unidentified male seen in the area around the same time she disappeared. A sketch of the suspect is posted below this case summary. He is described as a Hispanic or Caucasian male who was approximately 30 to 46 years old in 1996. He has light brown hair and green or hazel eyes. He stood between approximately 5'6 and 5'8 tall and weighed about 170 pounds. The suspect may have a moustache. He is believed to have also been responsible for the abduction, rape and beating death of another child, Esther "Lizette" Galaz, who disappeared from her home in December 1994 and was found the next day in a drainage ditch near her home. Galaz's murder remains unsolved. Authorities stated the circumstances of her abduction and murder are very similar to Karen's disappearance: both girls are Hispanic, within a year of one another's age, and disappeared outside their Tucson apartment complexes during the evening hours.

    Another possible suspect in Karen's case is Rodolfo Sedeno Morales. Morales resided in Saguaro Crest Apartments in 1996 and is currently serving a prison term for the abductions of five girls from the Tucson area between 1993 and 1994. He has not been charged in connection with Karen's disappearance, however.

    Karen's case remains open and unsolved. Her family members were cleared of any suspicion in her disappearance shortly after the investigation began in 1996. Her father was in Mexico at the time of her disappearance; her mother is also a Mexican native. Karen enjoys playing Nintendo games, roller skating and riding her bicycle. She was a first-grade student Elvira Elementary School and was learning to read, write, and sing at the time of her January 1996 disappearance. She has never been located.

    Grajeda Suspect
    Above: Sketch of possible abduction suspect

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Tucson Police Department
    520-791-4444

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    LostKids
    The Associated Press
    Childhood: a Cultural Study of Sexuality and Violence
    CyberPages International Inc.
    Child Quest International Inc.

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    Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated February 4, 2011; distinguishing characteristics updated.

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